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Participation in sports and cultural activities among Aboriginal children and youth

Canadian Social Trends no. 90

March 19, 201419 March 2014

Arts attendance and participation

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This study, published in 2010 in the now-discontinued Canadian Social Trends, examines cultural and sports participation by off-reserve Aboriginal children between 6 and 14 years of age, based on the 2006 Aboriginal Peoples Survey (a survey with 11,940 respondents). As reported by parents, the survey found that 40% of Aboriginal children participated at least occasionally “in culturally related activities” (no specific definition provided), while 69% participated at least once a week in sports-related activities.

Compared with the cultural participation rate of 40% for all Aboriginal children, some groups of Aboriginal children were significantly more likely to participate:

  • Children who understand and/or speak an Aboriginal language (51% participation rate for those who understand an Aboriginal language and 63% for those who both understand and speak the language).
  • Children who have contact with Elders at least once a week (50%).
  • Children with four or more siblings (48%).
  • Children where the parent responding to the survey has a university degree (46%).
  • Children who participate in other extra-curricular activities at least weekly (46%) or play sports at least once a week (42%).

In addition, Inuit children (56%) and First Nations children (43%) are more likely than Métis children (33%) to participate in cultural activities.

Unlike many other reports that have shown a connection between income and cultural participation, the study found almost no difference in cultural participation by household income. The age of the child, his or her health, the number of parents in the household, and the amount of “screen time” per day also did not have a strong connection with cultural participation.

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